The Morton girls basketball team won the Galesburg Martin Luther King Classic for the third straight season.
The Potters capped a 5-0 run through the tournament played over three days with a 43-33 win over Galesburg Jan. 21.
Three Morton players had at least nine points at Knox College, led by Kate Byrne’s 11.
“It’s always nice to beat Galesburg in Galesburg,” MHS head coach Bob Becker said. “I thought our defense was really good again.”
Abbie Cox tallied 10 points. She made Galesburg pay for using a gimmick defense that sagged off her and Emily Schultz.
Sarah Livingston had nine points, 12 rebounds and eight blocks for the winners.
The Potters, who were 12-of-18 on free throws, had a nine-point advantage at the line.
Morton outscored Galesburg 26-17 in the second half.
Sharron Diggins and Hayley Kelso had 12 points apiece for the Silver Streaks.
Cox defended Diggins and Byrne held Jessica Lieber, who is averaging 20 points per game in Western Big 6 Conference play, to five.
MHS 46, Limestone 28
The Potters limited the Rockets to nine first-half points Jan. 22.
Morton sent Limestone to its sixth Mid-Illini Conference loss in its last eight games as Livingston led all scorers at the Potterdome with 14 points on 8-of-10 free-throw accuracy.
The Potters stayed perfect in the league as Byrne had nine points and Chandler Ryan seven.
Morton has not lost in the M-I since the 2010-11 team, a Class 3A sectional semifinalist, fell to Limestone, 48-43, Jan. 25, 2011, as part of a 13-1 conference title-winning campaign.
McKenna Weaver led the Rockets, who entered with seven wins in their last nine games overall, with a paltry six points.
A 17-11 margin in the third quarter put the Potters on top 41-20.
“It was a tough stretch for us and we came out of it very well,” said Becker of playing five games in five days.
On Jan. 23, Morton enjoyed a much-deserved day without practice.
MHS 51, Washington 21
The Potters closed in on their third straight conference championship with a Saturday road win.
Not only did Morton (21-4, 10-0) hand Washington its third M-I defeat, but Canton also fell to 8-3 with a loss the same night to surging Dunlap.
Regardless of what happened Tuesday vs. those same Eagles, the Potters can clinch the outright league title with a Thursday victory at Canton.
Livingston dominated the Lady Panthers at Torry Gymnasium, single-handedly outscoring Washington with a season-high 23 points.
“I hope she stays dominant at both ends,” Becker said of Livingston.
Ryan contributed nine points, Schultz had eight points and seven rebounds Byrne collected six points, all of which came on a perfect night at the free-throw line.
Page 2 of 2 - Jess Learned had eight points to top the Lady Panthers, who entered the contest with nine wins in their last 11 games.
Byrne drew the defensive assignment on Learned, Washington’s best all-around player.
Cox defended Hayley Reneau, the Manual Holiday Tournament Most Valuable Player. She mustered only five points.
It was 24-9 at halftime before Morton held Washington to four third-quarter points.
“Our defense was unbelievable again,” said Becker. “We really buckled down defensively.”
Madie Kraft and Savannah Rhodes, the “Gnats,” continued to give the squad a lift by coming off the bench and causing fits for the opponent.
The Potters, the No. 6-ranked team in the Jan. 23 Associated Press Class 3A state poll, swept the Lady Panthers, who are in a battle with Canton in the race for the M-I’s most improved team.
The rivals are expected to meet again in the postseason.
Senior Night: Livingston and Ashley Gilles will be recognized prior to Morton’s home finale Friday vs. Pekin.
Postseason: Morton is a No. 1 seed in the 3A Bloomington Central Catholic Regional.
The Potters will face either fourth-seeded Washington or No. 5 seed Bloomington at 6 p.m. Feb. 12 in the semifinals.
BCC (No. 5) also is ranked in the Jan. 23 Associated Press 3A state poll. Normal University was 19-6 as of Sunday. Washington is 15-7.